Court is told of man's last words

A teenager who witnessed a fatal stabbing in a Norfolk alleyway yesterday described how the victim told his mother “I love you” moments before his death.

A teenager who witnessed a fatal stabbing in a Norfolk alleyway yesterday described how the victim told his mother “I love you” moments before his death.

John Cumby, 30, of Byron Road, Yarmouth, died after being stabbed in the heart by a youth, who is now 16 and cannot be named for legal reasons, following an angry confrontation near his home on February 13. The 16-year-old denies murder.

A 15-year-old who had been with Mr Cumby at the time told Norwich Crown Court he could only watch helpless as the attack took place 'in seconds'. He also said that six months before the attack the defendant had threatened him with a knife.

“Before that I had seen the defendant and his brother around but didn't really know them,” he said. “About six months earlier I nearly had a fight with him after I threw an apple core near him but I saw he had a knife and ran away.”

Referring to the night of the alleged murder, the witness said he had been with Mr Cumby for about an hour. A 10-year-old who was also with them had bet Mr Cumby he could not wrap a Cadbury's Crème Egg wrapper around a real egg without tearing it. When he failed Mr Cumby attempted to throw the real egg over the defendant's house but it hit the bathroom window.

The 15-year-old said: “I saw the defendant's brother come to the window to clean the egg off, he shouted: 'So you want to play games do you?'. Then I saw the two of them standing at the back door in an aggressive manner.

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“About half an hour later we decided to go to the shops but as we came up the alleyway we saw the two of them. I saw light reflecting off something in his brother's hand and thought he had a knife.

“His brother said 'what are you starting for?' and John said 'don't walk up to me like that little boy'. John pushed him in the chest and he nearly fell over.

“Then the defendant ran up to him and stabbed him to the left of his chest then his brother stabbed him in the side. It was hard to see what happened because they did not make it look obvious but John was saying 'I'm stabbed, I'm stabbed', and clutching himself.”

The boy followed Mr Cumby back into his house where his mother Susan Horler and several other people attempted to administer first aid in a desperate attempt to keep him alive.

He said. “We were pressing on his wounds to try to stem the flow of blood. He was trying to speak but was struggling for breath and kept passing in and out of consciousness. I think he knew he was dying.

“The ambulance came and he was put into the back of it. That was the last I saw of him.”

Earlier Ian James, prosecuting, said there was no issue over the identity of the assailant but whether the defendant had been in control of his actions.

The trial continues.